Posts Tagged ‘Koei’

Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce (PSP)

May 17, 2009
Dynasty Warriors Strikeforce

Dynasty Warriors Strikeforce

So, this week, I will cover a very interesting spinoff of the Dynasty Warriors franchise. The game’s character setup is based off of Dynasty Warriors 6, but the gameplay is unlike anything you’ve seen in previous Dynasty Warriors games. I will cover as much as I can about this new Dynasty Warriors game, and I hope that you find this game as fun as I have.

First off, let me cover the character setup. As I mentioned before, the characters are based off of Dynasty Warriors 6. That means that Liu Bei has his twin swords, Guan Ping has a pike, and Lu Bu has his cross pikes and his black armor. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. Each character has a sub weapon. Unlike the main weapon, whose type cannot be changed, you can change the character’s sub weapon to be anything you can buy from the Blacksmith, though the ability to equip a weapon of a certain strength requires a higher skill level with that weapon type, which can be increased as the weapon is used. So basically, since Ma Chao has a “Great Sword” as a main weapon, I can equip Guan Ping with a great sword as a sub weapon for nostalgic purposes. Because the game’s characters are based off of Dynasty Warriors 6, the following 7 from DW5 will still be absent: Jiang Wei, Xing Cai, Pang De, Da Qiao, Meng Huo, Zhu Rong, and Zuo Ci. Lastly, each character has his own Musou Awakening form, much like a “Super Saiyan” form from the Dragonball Z series, that gives the character one more jump and rush, increased stats, the ability to use the musou attack, and, as far as I know, a new weapon ability. For example, Cao Pi’s Longsword can generate shockwaves during Awakening form. Also, I want to note Cao Ren’s Awakening form. If he’s known as Mega Man in Dynasty Warriors 6, then I dub this form: Mega Ren X. 😛

Next, I will talk about the gameplay. The levels are split up into small areas, as opposed to one big area. I think that this is needed, because if the levels were one giant area, the officers would all head your way, and you’ll get nowhere before you’re surrounded by enemy officers who will be pounding you until the cows come home. There are not nearly as many enemies in Strikeforce’s maps than in other Warriors games, and there is much emphasis on fighting against other officers and giant weapons. Instead of K.O. counts, there are points. Although I don’t know much about the point system, I do know that each hit on an enemy is one point, and each KO on a non-officer enemy is 10 points. Every 10 points is one experience point. Aside from your main objective, there are also either one or two bonus objectives, which give you more points and spoils. Unless stated otherwise, the game will allow 3 lives, meaning that you can die twice before finally losing. There are crates and jars throughout the levels, as well. The crates hold spoils, and the jars hold either health or fury-replenishing items. Enemies also drop spoils when defeated. Finally, I will talk about the giant weapons. These weapons are in the form of monsters, and although there aren’t many of them in the game, there are definitely enough of them. They have VERY large amounts of health, and their attacks are often unavoidable.

Zhao Yun and his allies fight the giant weapon, Bi Xie, along with Lu Bu and his allied officers.

Zhao Yun and his allies fight the giant weapon, Bi Xie, along with Lu Bu and his allied officers.

Also to note is the town, which acts as your central hub. You can choose stages and change your character here, as well as buy new weapons from the Blacksmith, new orbs, which you can equip on your weapons, from the Workshop, new Chi abilities from the Academy, and various items from the Market. You can also exchange certain spoils for others at the Exchange. I personally don’t use it much, but I recommend to check it from time to time to check for rare spoils. Lastly, there is the Storehouse, where all your spoils are kept, as well as items you may have bought or earned. The old man in the town provides tips for you. Much of the time, when you return from a mission, you’ll find a girl, who will either talk to you or give you an item, an officer who will give you his card, used to upgrade your facilities, or a panda, who will give you a spoil in exchange for an item.

The game’s difficulty starts out pretty easy, but it quickly climbs. It was the only Dynasty Warriors game where I actually needed to level-grind to get past a certain mission. Even after reaching a very high level, you’ll will never be overleveled against some of the toughest challenges in the game.

As for my thoughts about the game, I must say that it is addicting. For a spinoff, I really enjoyed this game, and I loved how Koei executed the battles in the air. Even though I disagreed with Dynasty Warriors 6’s character setup, that same setup, ironically, made the game more flexible, allowing characters to be customized even more. I could have a Zhao Yun who is an expert swordsman if I wanted to. I could even make Xiao Qiao wield a massive Cudgel. But then, that would be silly. 😛 There are many, many kinds of orbs and Chi abilities to equip, so the combinations are nearly endless. Personally, I try to make sure my character gets a lot of jumps and rushes. Rushes help a lot against enemy officers, so that you can string together nice combos. In short, if you are a Dynasty Warriors fan, I definitely recommend you pick this game up. I enjoyed it that much.

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Samurai Warriors 2 (XBox 360)

March 20, 2009

Samurai Warriors 2

Samurai Warriors 2

Well, recently, I bought a copy of Samurai Warriors 2 for the XBox 360. I must admit, I really like this game even better than Samurai Warriors 1. While Ranmaru Mori and Okuni do not have their own story mode, and Kunoichi and Goemon Ishikawa were removed, the game still has plenty of great characters to choose from. So, first, I’m going to talk about the different modes. Then, I will talk about the characters, themselves. Lastly, I will talk about my experiences with the stages.

Sakon Shima slices through an enemy officer with his broad sword.

Sakon Shima slices through an enemy officer with his broad sword.

The modes Warriors fans are familiar with reappear in Samurai Warriors 2: Story Mode and Free Mode. Story Mode focuses on the route each individual warrior takes. Free Mode allows you to choose a battle, one of the opposing sides, and the character you wish to run and slice through the battlefield with. There is not much else to say about Free Mode. Story Mode, however, has more worth talking about. Each character has 5 or 6 campaign stages each. These stages get progressively harder as you continue with the character’s story. After you complete that character’s storyline (or in some cases, more than one character’s storyline), you unlock a dream stage and/or a new character. The dream stage goes off the beaten path a bit, with What If? missions or missions that are solely meant to be silly, such as Oichi’s dream stage. There is a shop that sells abilities, weapon upgrades, bodyguards, and horses. You can purchase these items with the gold you earn on the battlefield. I mostly spent my money upgrading weapons that I get. However, these upgrades are random, so it is always smart to pick up several kinds of the same weapon.

Survival Mode is the return of Samurai Warriors 1’s tower ascension challenge. However, it has some twists to it. First of all, you are not just running up the tower just for the sake of running, you are given a mission to complete, which will give you extra gold. However, you can fail the missions, so be careful. You can also start at a higher floor, for a price. Every five floors earns you a new floor to start you on.

Sugoroku Mode is a board game that is kind of like Monopoly.Your goal is to obtain property via either purchase or a minigame duel with another player, and to collect three flags to upgrade your property value. You can also upgrade a property by connecting properties to each other. Aside from properties, you also have shrines, which are like Chance cards of Monopoly, and ports, which, in big map mode, take you from one part of Japan to another. Speaking of maps, there are two sizes. The small map covers the bottom of Japan, while the big map includes the top part of Japan and surrounding islands. Set aside enough time for this mode, because, even with minimal settings, this game can take a while. It is a fun and unique, feature, so I suggest you give it a couple of tries.

Lastly, there is the Vault. In Samurai Warriors 1, Vaults contained mission objectives. However, this is no longer the case. They still have character info and cinema scenes, as well as horses and bodyguards you have collected.

The characters of Samurai Warriors 2 have plenty of personality in them. You have the optimistic Hideyoshi Toyotomi, the fight-loving Keiji Maeda, and the chaos-seeking Kotaro Fuma, as well as many others. The characters’ personalities are one of the biggest reasons why I enjoy playing their story modes. My personal favorites are Yukimura Sanada, Kanetsugu Naoe, and Nagamasa Azai. Also, each character has his own unique weapon. The weapons could be as plain as Mitsuhide’s katana or as unique as Ieyasu’s cannon spear. Most of the weapons are very fun to use.

Now for the stages. The stages have noticeably changed since the first Samurai Warriors game. One big example is the Battle of Mikatagahara. In the first game, Mikatagahara was a sizable plain with a river on the south side and some passageways to the east. All that has changed, though. The battle now holds several garrisons in mountainous terrain, completely different from the original. What I was disappointed from was the change in the Battle of Kawanakajima. Although the map still has the landmarks from the original, the battle is fought in the daytime, as opposed to the previous game’s nighttime battle. The music stayed the same, although with the battle being in the daytime, the music does not fit as well. The game’s stages are more memerable in this game than the last. Experiences in battles, such as Sekigahara and Yamazaki, make the battles more easily remembered. In Sekigahara, you will remember the struggle to gain the upper hand, especially if you are in the Tokugawa army. In Yamazaki, you will remember the “king of the hill” feeling as you capture Mt. Tennoh in order to use its cannons. Last, but not least, the boring, monotonous castle stages are gone. They are now melded into the field stages. When you enter a castle, the map zooms in with the floor number. This, of course, shrinks the castles to a miniscule size, but at least you will feel more comfortable playing these castle siege stages.

If you are a fan of the Warriors franchise in any way, this game is definitely worth the buy. The game has a familiar feel of a Warriors game, yet at the same time, feels completely different.

My Thoughts About Koei’s Warriors Franchise

January 30, 2009

I have to say, if there is at least one non-Nintendo franchise that I am really hooked on, it would be the Warriors Franchise. The first time I played a Warriors game was at a friend’s house. He owned Dynasty Warriors 4 for the PS2. The first time I saw the game, I was having a grand old time clearing away hordes of enemy soldiers, and it didn’t matter to me if I didn’t know the name of the character I was using!

My interest in the game expanded when I got Dynasty Warriors 5 for the XBox. I started with the very first character in the Character Select screen: Zhao Yun. To this day, he is one of my most favorite characters, mainly because of his spear and of his heroic nature. As I played each character’s storyline, I felt the joy of learning about each character’s backgrounds and, of course, the weapon each character used. I mean, what’s not to like about cutting down the Yellow Turbans with Guan Ping’s buster sword or knocking multiple foes upside the head with Ling Tong’s nunchucks? Oh, while I’m on the subject of characters, there is one generic officer named Cao Xing. Just to be funny, I’ve nicknamed him “Cow Crossing” (although, if I recall correctly, the “c” makes the “ts” sound).

It was not just the characters I really enjoyed. The stages were memorable, as well. I always remember Hu Lao Gate for being the stage where I battle Lu Bu to the point where I am nearly KO’d and am heavily relying on True Musou attacks just to keep myself from receiving the final blow. Wu Zhang Plains, He Fei Castle, and Bai Di Castle were great as final stages, but I put Wu Zhang Plains first as the ultimate battleground. Wide open area, plenty of room to fight multiple enemy officers, the battle at the fortresses at the upper area of the map, just perfect for me. And if I prefer a castle siege, no doubt that I would pick He Fei Castle, every time. I prefer being on the invading side, myself. That way, I get to dodge all of the catapults and statue traps and stuff before making it to Cao Pi, himself.

Whenever I am not in the mood to fight, I like to read the history behind the Dynasty Warriors game, with the story of the Three Kingdoms and information about certain officers. I sometimes pondered to myself what things would’ve been like if Sima Yi failed to take control of the Wei Kingdom. I’ve always liked to learn about the Shu Kingdom, myself, with Liu Bei’s dream of a kingdom founded on virtue.

Just recently, I got an XBox 360, along with Dynasty Warriors 5: Empires. I loved it, a lot, mainly for one reason: most of the battles were not scripted, and each battle seemed different each time, with the location of the main camp changing and changing my battle strategy according to how the battle was set up (which officers went where, and such.) I loved playing with different army setups in Empire Mode, and, since I allow edit officers, I sometimes fight them in order to attempt to add them to my army or ally with whichever faction is in possession of one of them. Playing “mercenary faction” (mainly allying yourself with multiple other factions to fight alongside them for gold) is fun and profitable, as well. Best of all, I can go to Free Mode, set up my favorite characters in armies, use weapons I’ve obtained and upgraded in Empire Mode, and even set my conditions to Good, Bad, or Even. I’ve actually set up a Bad-condition match in one map (it was a map often played against the Nanman faction in DW5, but I can’t remember what it was), have only my character in my army, and fill every slot with an officer and lieutenant for the enemy army. It wasn’t easy to go through, since multiple officers attacked me, but I eventually made it and won, although I was doing it on Easy mode.

I’m probably not going to get a Dynasty Warriors game above 5, mainly because Koei changed a lot about the game in Dynasty Warriors 6, including getting rid of many of the unique weapons. I understand that Koei may be looking for a more realistic approach to the Three Kingdoms, but without Guan Ping’s buster sword or Cao Ren’s buckler blade, it just isn’t the same for me. I saw Lu Bu’s new weapon, but without his Sky Scorcher, it just doesn’t seem right. On a side note, I do like Liu Bei’s younger look. Oh, and I did see a video of Fan Castle in Dynasty Warriors 6, and, correct me if I’m wrong, the map is mostly castle. I miss the field outside the castle. I should probably look at the video again to see how Fan Castle floods, if it floods.

Some time after getting Dynasty Warriors 5 for XBox, I got Samurai Warriors for the same console. Being set in feudal Japan, I was interested in the warfare of that time and place. (It takes place, I think, over a millenium after the events of the Three Kingdoms era.) I did just as I did with Dynasty Warriors 5: start with the very first character, who happens to be similar to Zhao Yun in weapon type: Yukimura Sanada.

Like Zhao Yun, Yukimura Sanada became one of my most favorite characters of Samurai Warriors, next to Hanzo Hattori and Keiji Maeda. Also, like Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors had a colorful selection of characters. It didn’t have nearly as many characters as Dynasty Warriors 5 did, but that didn’t bother my enjoyment of the game. Anyway, I’ll talk about a few of my favorite characters apart from Yukimura Sanada. First of all, the ninjas: Hanzo Hattori and Kunoichi (which, to my knowledge, is a generic name for a female ninja.) Well, the first reason I enjoy playing as them is, well, they’re ninjas! What’s not to like about playing as a ninja, especially a ninja who lightens up the dark atmosphere of war with her comic personality? There’s also Keiji Maeda, who I used to dub “the Lu Bu of Samurai Warriors” until Tadakatsu Honda got promoted from generic officer to UBER-PWNAGE MACHINE WITH A DEER ANTLER HELMET! Ok, no more going crazy with the Caps. 😛 I find it funny how he has a lot of hair, like some Dragonball Z hairdo, and then, when you switch to his alternate outfit, BALD. And yes, the Caps were necessary, there. He still looks cool bald, though. I enjoyed Shingen Takeda and his witty personality on the battlefield. His alternate outfit’s mask creeps me out, though. And, of course, the demon king, Nobunaga Oda. First thing I thought when I saw him: “Hey, this guy looks like Cao Cao!” Well, no doubt I wasn’t the only one who thought that. More on that, later.

One interesting thing I’d like to point out is that the battles were somewhat more flexible than the battles in Dynasty Warriors. The battles progress by completing a series of objectives that may or may not appear, depending on the player’s actions. Most characters have splits in their storyline, meaning that a certain objective will effect the battle so much, that, if succeeded or failed, will cause the character’s path to branch a certain way, sometimes leading to one of the two character endings. However, Okuni, the dancer, has tons of secret endings. However, all but two are basically her dancing alone with another Samurai Warriors character while that character thinks upon what he was, with Okuni claiming that it was all a dream. The enemies in Samurai Warriors seem a bit tougher than the ones in Dynasty Warriors, and it is harder to make massive amounts of KOs in the game. Also, another part that annoys me is that some of the stages involve going to the highest floor of a castle to fight a warrior. Well, it’s not all that bad, except the scenery is pretty much the same, and with a time limit, you don’t really want to waste time on the myriad of grunts who want to take a stab at you. Of course, there are traps, and some can be aggravating. (Man, I bet it must be hard to make it from the bedroom to the bathroom at night.) Still, I loved the game for what it is and what makes it unique.

As far battles go, most of the battles are not really that memorable compared to the battles in Dynasty Warriors. It’s hard for me to remember the battles that went on (and sometimes, harder to remember their names. I mean, Mikatagahara isn’t something that sticks in my head very well.) Probably the battle I remember best is Siege of Osaka (Summer), where the Toyotomi Army face off against the Tokugawa Army. However, without in-game info of the story behind Samurai Warriors or their officers, it’s kinda hard for me to figure out when this battle occurred.

When Warriors Orochi came out, I was eager to see how creative Koei could get with combining Dynasty Warriors with Samurai Warriors. Well, I got Warriors Orochi for the PSP, since I did not have an XBox 360 at the time. A few differences between the PSP and the console versions: most cutscenes were basically screenshots of cutscenes in the console versions, most of the voice acting was cut out, save for the scenes and for whenever your player KOs an enemy officer, and the maps (not the actual stages) were 2-D. It is still a lot of fun, though. The story mode is split into four factions: Shu, Wei, Wu, and Samurai Warriors. Zhao Yun leads the Shu campaign and pursues Liu Bei throughout the campaign after being freed from prison himself by Zuo Ci. Cao Pi leads the Wei campaign and is part of Orochi’s army, until he manages to find the right moment to turn against the Orochi Army. The Wu campaign shares a similar fate, except that Sun Ce takes the spotlight in order to rescue his father, Sun Jian, from Orochi, so the Wu army will no longer be obligated to serve under Orochi’s army. Lastly, Nobunaga Oda leads the Samurai Warriors campaign as he spearheads the Coalition army in an effort to fight the Orochi army head-on.

Well, the fun part about Warriors Orochi is unlocking extra missions that allow you to unlock certain characters if those missions are completed correctly. The last extra stage requires beating Stage 7 in a specific manner. It is basically an alternate final battle from the Koshi Castle stage. The fun part about these battles is that they all take place on the most well-known Warriors maps. Well, Wu Zhang Plains is Stage 7 for the Samurai Warriors Campaign. Probably my most favorite alternate final mission would be Battle of Chi Bi. It pretty much copies Dynasty Warriors 5’s strategy, except you need to head to the other side and clear the way for a fire attack, while Masamune Date goes on a rampage against your officers on the east side of the map. Lu Bu has a major role, being in each final mission. However, the only final battle that has Lu Bu in his prime would be the Battle of Mikatagahara, where Lu Bu takes his position in guarding one of the gates to the enemy camp. After Story Mode is done and all, most players would want to call it quits, as Free Mode is basically playing one of the story mode stages as any group of characters. You don’t even get to experience being part of the opposing army. I have actually tried to unlock everything in Warriors Orochi, myself, but Chaos Mode is too tough without getting enough ability upgrades for Attack, Defense, etc. To me, it’s still fun playing as my favorite warriors with the Warriors Orochi engine.

Some things I want to point out in Warriors Orochi is that if you’ve ever made comparisons between, say, Zhao Yun and Yukimura Sanada, you will see something like that in this game. Yukimura helps out Zhao Yun at one point, and both compliment each other in their spear skills. Also, the programmers did indeed touch on the whole Cao Cao/Nobunaga Oda look-alike thing and they built part of the Samurai Warriors campaign on that.

I haven’t gotten Warriors Orochi 2 for the XBox 360, yet, mainly because I’ve been cutting back on my video game spending, and I mostly just buy used games, nowadays. From what I’ve read, it looks like I’ll enjoy the second game as much as, if not more than, the first. I haven’t seen any info regarding a Warriors Orochi Empires game, but I want to say that I will definitely buy such a game if Koei works on one. At one point, one of the characters, I think, Zhao Yun, mentions the terrain being unusual. I would like to see that reflected in a map form of Orochi’s world. What I would suggest is to make Koshi Castle smack-dab in the center of the map, and have it only accessible after clearing the rival factions. Then the final battle with Orochi will appear. And speaking of rival factions, this is technically possible, due to certain stages in Warriors Orochi, where you fight against a “neutral faction”. One such battle is Chen Cang, where Nagamasa Azai occupies Chen Cang Castle, and Cao Pi’s army, now defected from Orochi’s Army with Da Ji taken as somewhat of a prisoner of war, invades the castle. The Nanman also would be their own separate faction, and there was also a separate coalition army being formed by Sakon Shima, who ends up becoming part of Nobunaga’s Army. I would like to see custom officers return, but with a bit more customization than in Dynasty Warriors 5 Empires, such as different colors for hair, and maybe a broader range of voices.

Wrapping up, the Warriors series may be scored low by reviewers on game websites, such as gamespot.com, but if there’s anything I’ve read in a review about the Warriors series that I agree with, it’s that you’ll either like a lot or not like it pretty much at all. For me, I’m glad I’ve enjoyed the Warriors series. Not only do I get a beat ’em up game series that I enjoy very much, but I also love reading about history.